SAC Sound-Off: Glad to be an AD's Son

October 30, 2012

By Coby Ryan
Manistique junior

“Oh, you’re Rob Ryan’s son, right?”

As a student-athlete, I hear that all the time. The Upper Peninsula is a tightly-knit network in the sports world. Names, faces, and schools are heavily interconnected. And as the son of Manistique’s athletic director Rob Ryan, everything in that perspective is multiplied.

There are certainly perks to being my father’s son. At every away game I attend, I am greeted by some coach, athletic director, or other school official who already knows my name before the game even starts. Also, we have unlimited access to the gym. It is hard to stay connected to statewide sports living where I do, but having my dad as an AD helps. We always attend the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals in East Lansing through him, and we love it. Finally, he introduced me to the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, and I am extremely thankful for that. He has more sports-related access than most people, and I benefit from that.

There also are some traits of being an AD’s son that people probably do not see if they do not have a similar relationship. I definitely am held to a higher standard, both academically and athletically, because of my father’s position in the school. This pushes me to be the best student-athlete I can be, and for that I am grateful.

But, there can also be a feeling of being overshadowed by what he does. I am my own person; I am not my father. Many times, I am identified by his achievements, not mine. If I play a good game, I’m “Rob Ryan’s son,” not “Coby Ryan.” Identity problems can be an issue as an athletic director’s child, but this motivates me more to want to be called by my own name because of who I am and what I’ve accomplished.

When I am attending or involved in an athletic competition, my peers and I do not have the same experience. They all see the players playing, a couple guys reffing, and some other people doing statistics or something; they don’t really care about the details. They are just there to watch the game.

When I go, I see things in an entirely different light. I see a team that arrived on the field or court without a hitch because my dad was there to greet them, show them where everything was, and make sure they were all settled in. I see an unbiased, professional officiating crew contracted by my father from a different community. I see scorekeepers, announcers, timers, and statisticians, all hired by him because of their knowledge of the game being played and their ability to perform the task given to them. When there are unruly fans, coaches, or players, I see people that my dad has to deal with by getting them out of the game so enjoyment is not taken away from the rest. In the student section, I am much more aware of sportsmanship and what is appropriate or inappropriate for a high school game than my peers because of him. Being his son puts a whole new perspective on how I view the game.

Through my dad, I can be much more involved in my community’s sports, even if I am not playing all of them. He taught me how to keep stats for basketball games. He had me announce JV football games. I have been a referee with him in local basketball tournaments. Also, we coached a girls basketball travel team together. These opportunities all arose from his being an athletic director.

Overall, I love being my dad’s kid. We both love high school sports and get to enjoy them in more ways than most fathers and sons ever will. I believe there are some negatives to it, but I find that in the end these actually just make me a better student-athlete and a better person. I guess I am pretty lucky to be “Rob Ryan’s son.”

Coby Ryan, Manistique junior

  • Sports: Football, basketball, track and field
  • Non-sports activities: Class President, Quiz Bowl, Drama Club, Glee Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, YETI, Academic Booster Club Class Representative
  • Favorite class: Gym
  • Up next: Ryan hopes to attend the University of Michigan. 
  • Shining moment: Scoring 22 points and beating our rival Big Bay de Noc in JV basketball.
  • Pump-up jam: "Winner" by Jamie Foxx (with Justin Timberlake & T.I.)
  • Must-see TV: "The Office"
  • Favorite films: "Step Brothers" and "The Dark Knight"

PHOTO: Manistique junior Coby Ryan stands with parents Christi and Rob during his football team's Parents Night this fall. 

Performance of the Week: Lake City's MacKenzie Bisballe

September 28, 2023

MacKenzie BisballeMacKenzie Bisballe ♦ Lake City
Senior ♦ Volleyball

Bisballe led Lake City to a key Highland Conference sweep of Manton with 13 kills, 12 assists and 16 digs, and added 40 kills, 57 assists, 43 digs and 12 blocks as Lake City finished last week with a 5-0 run through the Kalkaska Invitational. Lake City is ranked No. 7 in Division 3 this week, and Manton had received an honorable mention in the state coaches poll at the time of their match.

The 6-foot-1 standout made the Division 3 all-state second team last season and has helped Lake City to a 26-5-2 start teaming up in part with senior cousin Alison Bisballe, as the duo share setting and middle responsibilities. Both are likely known even more for basketball; MacKenzie made the Division 3 all-state team in that sport last season as Lake City girls hoops finished 24-2. She’ll continue her basketball career next year at Grand Valley State, where she’ll play with older sister Rylie Bisballe, a redshirt junior for the Lakers, and cousin Macy Bisballe, a redshirt sophomore.

@mhsaasports 🏐POW: Kenzie Bisballe #volleyball #setter #middle #letsgo #lakecity #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏐POW: Kenzie Bisballe #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #jordan #sprite #nerdgummyclusters #family #silkpillowcase #cryingemoji #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Top photo courtesy of the Cadillac News.)